Purpose: The purpose of this research was to analyze correlates of access to, use of and skills with PC and Internet tools with social characteristics such as occupational category, income and other indicators of status.
Methodology: The research reported here presents trend analysis and multiple regression results
based on nationally representative samples of Poles collected in 2003 and 2008. The data are from
the Polish Panel Study (POLPAN) collected by the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish
Academy of Sciences.
Findings: The results showed that there are lingering disparities in PC ownership and Internet use
by occupational status (employed vs. unemployed) and occupational category. On the positive side,
all groups are more likely to possess a PC or use the Internet in 2008 relative to 2003. The results
further showed sharp disparities across occupational categories for PC skills. For example, while
100% of professionals claimed the ability to receive an email, only 51.5% of farmers attested to
such skill. A regression analysis showed that only PC ownership had a weak positive effect on later
income. Neither Internet use nor proficiency with PCs and the Internet were revealed to have
positive impacts on income after five years. The results of this study challenged the notion of the
digital divide. The analysis showed that, except in the case of access to a PC in the home, which
had a small impact on income growth, PC/Internet use and skills in Poland in recent years do not
have any statistically significant relationship with income. It was concluded that the finding where
two of the three factors are not correlated with income growth is evidence of digital parity or
a growing digital equality among citizens in modern Poland.